Research Article| Volume 379, P327-330, August 15, 2017

Head CT findings at a public hospital in rural Haiti



      Neuroimaging is often unavailable in low-income countries, creating challenges for precise diagnosis of neurologic disease in individual patients, and impeding acquisition of precise neuroepidemiologic data for program and policy development.


      We analyzed reports from 3614 head CTs performed between July 2013 and January 2016 at Hôpital Universitaire de Mirebalais, a public academic hospital in rural Haiti, extracting patients' age, study indication, and radiologic findings.


      The most common indications for head CT were headache (27%), trauma (19.9%), abnormal neurological exam (12.2%), and stroke (11.3%). The most common categories of neurologic abnormalities were traumatic (31%), vascular (25.8%), and infectious (12%). Of 291 strokes, 64% were ischemic (median age at diagnosis 60.8 years, SD 17.4) and 36% were hemorrhagic (median age 52.0, SD 15.5). In patients undergoing head CT for seizures or epilepsy, 17.5% had evidence of neurocysticercosis. In patients with head trauma, 42.6% had intracranial hemorrhage or fracture. Atrophy was noted on 10% of CTs (median age 57.1; SD 23.8), and was characterized as out of proportion to age in 2% (median age 34.1, SD 15.3).


      Median age of stroke patients in this rural low-income population is lower than in high-income countries and proportion of stroke due to intracerebral hemorrhage is higher. Neurocysticercosis is present in nearly one fifth of patients with seizures/epilepsy. These findings can inform policies and programs for prevention and treatment of neurologic disease in low-income settings.


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